Conjunctivitis or Pink eye symptoms, sign, types and treatment

Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye. Many of us aware of the condition of the pink eye. The common pink eye symptoms are associated with redness, itching, foreign body sensation and watering of the eye. It is inflammation of the conjunctiva (White visible part of the eye) due to some bacterial, viral or allergic reaction of the eye. It can also occur from irritant substances like dust, smoke, chlorine water.


Types of Conjunctivitis:-

Types of conjunctivitis and pink eye symptoms
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The above picture shows the various types of conjunctivitis. But 3 major types of conjunctivitis are
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis
  • Viral Conjunctivitis
  • Allergic conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis  or pink eye symptoms:-

Common pink eye symptoms are-

  • Redness of eyes
  • Sticky eyelids in the morning
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Photophobia
  • Burning sensation of eyes
  • Itching
  • Watery eyes
  • Eyelid edema or swelling

How to differentiate between viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis?

Bacterial and viral both are very contagious.  Before started conjunctivitis treatment, we should know “What causes pink eye”? It’s viral conjunctivitis or bacterial conjunctivitis?. Depends on the symptoms and signs of a pink eye we can differentiate them. See the below table

Characteristics by pink eye symptoms and sign Viral Conjunctivitis Bacterial Conjunctivitis
 Mostly seen Older children (7-8 yrs) Preschoolers (3-4 yrs)
 Redness Moderate Severe
 Itching  Occasional  Rare or absent
 Watering  Severe  Moderate
 Discharge  Watery Discharge  Mucopurulent yellowish color
 Papillae  Absent  Moderate
 Follicles  Moderate  Absent
 Chemosis  Occasional  Severe

How allergic conjunctivitis occurs?

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs if your eyes are sensitive to an allergic substance like pollen from dust, grass, flower, tree etc. Also, it can be developed from pet animals.

Myths about conjunctivitis or pink eye:-

In childhood time, many people tell us that don’t look directly into someone’s eye who is suffering from pink eye. Pink eye can be spread if you look the patient’s eye directly. It is a common myth about conjunctivitis spread.

How conjunctivitis or pink eye spread?

Conjunctivitis is very contagious. Don’t share your clothes or cosmetics with others. If some are suffering, then your eye can affect from him if you use his used personal things.

If any conjunctivitis patient didn’t clean his hand over touch eyes and after that, he uses a doorknob to open the door. After that you touch the door knob, then the virus or bacteria can be spread to your eyes through your hand. Like this, there are several ways conjunctivitis spreads.

How to prevent the spreading Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis:-

So how you protect yourself or your family member from it. Because if one person of your family gets infected, then it can be spread to other members. Here the few simple precautionary steps can reduce the risk of getting pink eye.

  1. Don’t share your personal items like a handkerchief, towels, tissue, etc. with others while suffering from conjunctivitis.
  2. Also, don’t share your pillow, bed sheet, towels and other things with your family members. Clean them with warm water.
  3. Always clean your hand after touching your eyes with soap or warm water.
  4. If you are using contact lenses then stop to wear contact lenses. Maybe you need to discard your current contact lenses and lens related accessories.
  5. Don’t use cosmetics like Kajal, mascara, eyeliner etc while you are suffering from conjunctivitis because it can spread to your cosmetics and you can reinfect in future.
  6. Don’t share your cosmetics with others.
  7. Discard your current cosmetics.
  8. Don’t use other contact lenses
  9. Wash your hands before and after applying eye drops or ointments.
  10. Take holiday from your work if possible. So it will not spread to others.
  11. Also, use sunglasses while going outside.

Precaution and advice for contact lens users

1. Don’t wear contact lenses when you are suffering from conjunctivitis or have signs of pink eye.

2. Discontinue contact lenses for the 1-2 week until it cures.

3. Ask your eye doctor before reuse contact lenses again.

4. If you are using soft disposable contact lenses, then try to start new pair lenses. Because you can get reinfected from your old pair of contact lenses.

5. If you are Hard or Rgp contact lens user, then disinfect lenses overnight before reusing them.

6. Ask your lens consultant regarding the change of contact accessories like storage box and contact lens solution.

 Why change contact lenses and accessories are important?

Reinfection. It can come back even after cure also. Because bacteria can easily grow up to the contact lens surface and contact lens solution. If your lenses or lens solution contaminated with virus and bacteria then you can get back reinfection while using them again. For this reason, eye doctor advised changing current contact lenses, solution and lens storage box. But Rgp, Hard, scleral, Rose-k lenses are costly and need special order to get them. That’s why doctors advised soaking lenses whole night with a disinfectant solution before reusing them.

All about pink eye
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Treatment of Conjunctivitis:  – You need to consult with an eye doctor if you have signs of pink eye or red eye. For treatment of conjunctivitis  See Next Page.

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Krishnendu Mandal
Optometrist, Blogger, Blogging since Jan 2016



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